Underwater Life – Walleye

This just happened to be the first fish I searched information on that didn’t come up with some wacky definition for the word Walleye. I was kind of scared, not going to lie. It came up with information about fishing for Walleye and tournaments that deal with Walleye. Hey, how awesome is that? So here you go, let’s learn about Walleye. Oh and one big thing all information I found said, they taste good. Well I don’t care for fish, even though I taste it all the time, so I wouldn’t know if it is good or not.

Scientific name: Stizostedion Vitreum

  • Other names: Pickerel, Yellow Pickerel, Walleyed Pike, Yellow Walleye, Pike Perch, Marble eye, Glass eye, Jack.

Walleye is the biggest member of the perch family and is a very common freshwater game fish.

The name comes from a special pigment layer in its eye that reflects light.

  • This allows them to see more clearly in dark and murky water.
  • They are super sensitive to light and will venture into deep water on clear days.
  • Believed to only see the colors red and green.

Walleye are very prolific (definition: producing many offspring); females can lay up to 600,000 eggs per year.

  • Spawning season occurs in the spring, mainly the month of April
  • Prefer water temps around 40-55˚F
  • Babies are called fries.
  • Males fan beds in shallow water, females lay their eggs then the males fertilize them.


  • Move together in a loose group in open water
  • Little evidence of a communication system between members.
  • They are not territorial nor do they invest in mates or their offspring.
  • Only real form of communication happens during matting
    • The male walleye bump against females
    • When the female is ready to spawn she signals by turning on her side.

Walleye can live up to 20 years.

  • Oldest record is 29 years.



  • Slender and cylindrical shaped body.
  • They are olive and gold in color fading to a white underside.
  • Sides are often marked with brassy flecks.
  • They have large dark spots on their back and smaller dark spots on their fins.
  • The dorsal fin spines
    • Needle like sharp spines and is separated from the second dorsal fin which is soft rayed
  • The tail is slightly forked and lower tip of the tale is white.
  • Teeth of the walleye are treacherously sharp
    • The teeth don’t have any venom in them but they do often have bacteria in the slime covering these needle sharp jabbers.
  • Sometimes have sad looking tumors on their sides, most often early in the summer season
    • Most are not cancerous.
    • Likely a virus growth on the outside of the fish’s skin.
  • On average they measure 10-18 inches long and weigh 1-3 pounds.
    • The current world record is 25 pounds caught in Old Hickory Lake, Tennessee August 2, 1960.

What they eat:

  • When young Walleye live almost exclusively on insects.
  • By their second summer they switch to almost exclusive minnow diet
  • Not especially cannibalistic but will eat their own kind if there is low/limited supply of other minnows/food.
  • On rare instances though some live almost exclusively on insects their whole life.
  • They have canine teeth, which are slanted back.
    • They use these wickedly sharp teeth to catch/hold and tear their quarry
  • They are often ranked high in the food chain.

Walleye have their taste buds in their lips – thousands of them.

Walleye can and do travel extensively within their waterbody.

  • On large lakes, they will travel up to 50 miles in a single night.
  • Normally though they won’t travel more than several miles
    • Unless in search of their favored water temp or food
  • Walleye are long distance swimmers
    • Few prey species can outdistance them.
      • It is believed that walleye can smell their prey

Walleye often “suspend” in water, especially over deep water.

  • They do lay on the bottom, but not very often and usually only for a short period of time in the early summer or mid-autumn season.
  • Oxygen content on the bottom is not usually sufficient for them unless a relatively shallow lake.
  • Typically don’t go below 60 feet.
    • Usually found between 20 and 60 feet deep depending on:
      • Water temperature
      • Bait
      • Oxygen content
      • Time of day/night/year

Relatively clean fish, and few diseases that people can catch.

  • The most susceptible for humans to catch is the tapeworm.
  • Known for their delicious and finely textured meat.
  • They are the most sought after fish in many northern states.

State fish status:

  • Minnesota
  • South Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Vermont


About Sports – http://fishing.about.com/od/walleye/a/walleye_information.htm

American Expedition – https://americanexpedition.us/walleye-facts

BioKids – http://www.biokids.umich.edu/critters/Sander_vitreus/

Justsportfishing.com – http://www.justsportfishing.com/walleye.html

Walleye Central – http://www.walleyecentral.com/articles/?a=646

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